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Sawyer Squeeze Review

   
Best Buy Award

Backpacking Water Purification

  • Currently 4.4/5
Overall avg rating 4.4 of 5 based on 9 reviews. Most recent review: June 3, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $34 - $55 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Light, compact, comes with 3 collapsible bottles, innovative, fast and easy to use, no moving parts, long lasting, inexpensive
Cons:  Awkward to drink from, hard to collect water from small, un-flowing sources, not easy to use for multiple people or around camp
Best Uses:  Backpacking and hiking
User Rating:     
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 (4.5 of 5) based on 8 reviews
Recommendations:  88% of reviewers (7/8) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Sawyer
Review by: McKenzie Long ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ September 7, 2012  
Overview
The Sawyer Squeeze is an innovative water filter that differs from the typical pump models. Rather than pumping water through hoses like most other filters, the Squeeze is a compact filter that screws right on to a small mouth bottle and allows you to drink right through it, giving it one of the fastest treatment times of any other option we evaluated, unless you need to treat large quantities of water. If that is the case, the Sawyer Squeeze is not ideal, because squeezing water through the filter is tedious. It has many desirable features for a hiker or backpacker: simple to use, long lasting, small, and lightweight. The filter comes with three collapsible bottles of different sizes for the user to customize their water collection options or to allow them to gather a large quantity of water at once. Since it only weighs 2.7 ounces for the filter, it is a very enticing water treatment option for backpackers, rivaling Aquamira Water Treatment Drops since it doesn't use chemicals. It even competes with the SteriPen, except that it does not treat for viruses like UV treatments. The drawbacks are that it is awkward to drink from, the flow is not fast for squeezing water into pots or someone else's bottle, and it is difficult to collect water from small, non-flowing sources. We give this filter our Best Buy Award for costing half as much as most other filters and for lasting for a million gallons, making it the most economical water treatment option.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Reliability/Effectiveness
Since there are no moving parts to this filter, it is unlikely to break or malfunction. Though after a weekend of hard use, we realized that the user has to be particular about screwing the filter onto the bottles, because the seal can get moved around and then leak. Like most other pump filters it is effective against protozoa, bacteria, and particulate, but does not treat for viruses.

It uses a 0.1 micron hollow fiber filter to strain out pathogens, and this pore size is smaller than all other filters we reviewed besides the First Need XL. This means that it can eliminate very small organisms.

Weight
The filter alone weighs 2.7 ounces, which is lighter by far than any other filter or UV treatment, and is even lighter than the entire aquamira set-up. However, it requires a small-mouthed bottle to attach to, or it does not function. Sawyer solved this problem brilliantly by included different sized collapsible bottles with the filter, which are extremely light for a water-carrying container. If you brought the Sawyer Squeeze and all 3 bottles with you, it would weigh only 5.1 ounces, which is still lighter than any other pump filter.

Time Before Drinking
Since you can drink directly through the filter, this is one of the quickest treatment options, and makes collection time particularly fast. Though if you want to cook with treated water, you can squirt directly from a bottle through the filter, and this is not very quick. The flow is not incredibly fast, and squeezing out of the bottles is not very efficient.

The primary downsides are that it is difficult to collect water in the bottles unless you have a free flowing source, and the Squeeze is not conducive to treating large volumes of water. It you are scooping from a lake or a creek where there is plenty of water, it works great. It you are trying to extract water from a silty, shallow puddle, it is much more challenging to fill your bottle than to use a pump filter to suck the water out. Using this filter to squeeze out large amounts of water at camp or for multiple people is very tedious and inefficient.

Ease of Use
This filter is so simple. You screw it onto one of the included bags or a small-mouthed water bottle, and either drink directly from it, or squirt it into a cook pot or other vessel. It is as immediate as drinking right from the Aqua Vessel, but with much better flow.

The one thing we did notice is that the filter holds water inside. If you unscrew it from your bottle and throw it in your pack, it leaks water everywhere while still holding enough water inside to make it considerably heavier. This can be fixed by blowing air into one of the bags, screwing the filter on, and pushing the water out by squeezing the air through the bottle, but this is a pain and not very easy to do if you have just filled all of your containers for the day.

Durability/Uses Before Maintenance
Sawyer claims that this filter can treat up to a million gallons without needing to be replaced, which is essentially a lifetime of water treatment. It does require back-flushing from time to time, but that process is simple and relatively painless. The parts that may not last as long are the collapsible 'bag' bottles that comes with the filter, yet these are not vital to the function of the filter and can be easily replaced with similar versions by Platypus.

Taste
The Sawyer Squeeze leaves the taste of the water unchanged, delicious, and fresh. It cleans water without chemicals.

Best Application
Since this method does not work very well for treating large volumes of water, or for treating water to put in other containers, it is best used by a single hiker on a backpacking trip. It is lightweight and small, so easy to pack and carry, but not a good option for base camp or for multiple people.

Personal Stories
We tested this filter on a three day backpacking trip and used it to treat water for 4 people. At first we were excited about the inexpensive and innovative system, but as we tried to treat enough water for 4 people at camp, the group quickly became frustrated with the system. It is awkward to drink strait from the filter, and if you want to treat water for someone else in their own personal container, squeezing the water through the filter is a huge pain.

Value
At half the price of most of the other filters or UV water treatments in this review, this method is very wallet-friendly. What makes it even better is how long it lasts. Claiming that it can treat around a million gallons, you would be hard pressed to ever use this filter up. It could potentially last your lifetime. At $59 bucks, this is a steal.

McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 3, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.5)

88% of 8 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
9 Total Ratings
5 star: 67%  (6)
4 star: 22%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 11%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 8 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jun 3, 2014 - 10:34am
I bought this unit several years ago. I found its simplicity and its light weight appealing. I have treated this unit with the utmost care, backwashing after each and every use. I find it does not flow as well as advertised. Also the bags that come with it have a fatal design flaw in that the point at which the screw on adaptor is glued to the bag is prone to failure. I emailed sawyer and was informed that this was due to user error and, get this, they would not replace the bag, probably due to its cost to manufacture- maybe $0.50. Fantastic customer service! They told me i must have squeezed too hard. Well, i have three bags so onto bag number two. Despite treating this bag as though it were my only child it developed the exact same issue. So….farewell sawyer and your cheesy water bag cartridge filter. It was a great run, but i found your product to be too difficult to use for any serious backpacking use and am now seeking some other alternative. Overall i would not recommend this unit to anyone who finds frustration unappealing.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   May 2, 2014 - 06:55pm
Alex460 · Hiker · Melbourne, Victoria
I use the sawyer as a gravity system, because I find it time consuming and annoying to try and use it as a squeeze sytem. I have attached cord and caribeeners to hang it from a tree and a hose to send the water into my clean water storage. This is a very easy and fast way to get 4L of water.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 3, 2013 - 12:46pm
boyfromthenorth · Backpacker · New Haven, CT
I have used this filter for a couple years in a variety of settings. I used it while in the military on field training exercises, on the AT and on my shorter camping trips. I have learned a few tricks to make it a little esier to use and I can assure you, that with a little use, this is a durable, easy to use and top notch piece.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 9, 2013 - 12:28pm
James Moore · Backpacker · Florida
I used the Sawyer Squeeze on the A.T. and I was amazed it worked wonderfully. The treated water tasted incredible. The only down side is the small opening in the squeeze bag, this is over come by using your cook system/pot to fill the bag. There is no waiting either, it is instant water treatment. No chemicals and no waiting! Not to mention it is light and simple. 1,000,0000 gallons of treatment. I have placed it in my hurricane kit.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 4, 2013 - 09:54pm
Joestealth · Mountain Biker · Newcastle WA
Absolute magic. Light, compact, adaptable (use as an in-line filter for your hydration pack with the included adapter) and comes with three sizes of canteen pouches. Rarely do you find something worth more than you paid for it. This is one such product. Buy one for the pack, another to have around the house/cabin and another for the car. Sawyer also runs a great charity so check out their website for info on the good they are doing with these.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 4, 2013 - 08:26am
FCAsheville · Mountain Biker · Asheville, NC
Love this filter so far. I'm a bit of a cheapskate and was able to grab this locally with a 40% off coupon, so price-wise it was a bit of a no-brainer.

Pros for me include the weight and ease of use. It's small enough to keep in my hydration pack 100% of the time, and takes virtually no instruction.

So far I haven't had issues with the bags leaking or 'dirty' water dripping into my clean container.

It's unlikely I would do this, but it's also nice to know you could bring a filter on international travel and it fits most water bottles. I have stayed in US hotels with some funky water and this might help.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 30, 2012 - 01:37pm
TheFatpacker · Hiker · Romney, WV
Great filter system. It's light, packs easy, no moving parts to break (though it is a ceramic filter, so don't drop it on a rock), one of the less expensive options, and it works well.

Sure, it isn't the easiest to fill the water bags, but that's a very easy thing to fix by using a cup to dip the water from the source and pour into the bag. It's also versatile in that you can screw the filter onto the top of a water bottle.

I really can't think of any true negatives for this filter. Highly recommended.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Sep 24, 2012 - 06:04pm
Lion Norm · Backpacker · Aberdeen, WA
I have used this water filter on many backpacking trips for the last season and am extremely pleased with it. The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter is light, compact, simple to use, versatile, and no external or moving parts to lose. At about 3 oz. it is one of the lightest filter systems on the market and the filter and the water bags roll up into a small compact unit that take up very little space in a pack. I shove mine in a small side pocket that holds other gear as well. The system is easy to use, just fill the bag and put the filter on and squeeze the water into water bottles or containers. If water source flows are low or shallow, I use a bottle or my cooking pot to fill the squeeze bags. This is no more hassle than rigging up a pump. Usualy our water bottles are filled when breaking camp and if I anticipate needing more water than having bottles for, I have the option of taking extra water in the squeeze bags. The filter can be screwed on to a regular water bottle if the need ever arises. I have been backpacking with groups up to 5 campers this past summer and this is the only water filter we have used. The ease of use and the versatility of the Sawyer Filter System has relegated my camping partners Awkward to drink from, hard to collect water from small, un-flowing sources, not easy to use for multiple people or around camp

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
Credit: Sawyer Squeeze
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